Google On MSFT-YHOO: We’d Hire Yang; Would Work With Them Again

Google’s (NSDQ: GOOG) top trio met in the UK last night to discuss revived Microsoft-Yahoo talks. Earlier yesterday, CEO Eric Schmidt gave his first reaction to journalists: “It’s too early. After this press conference, the three of us will meet and decide what our response is.”

Going in to that meeting, Sergey Brin said on Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Jerry Yang (via BBC): “Jerry is very talented and if he wants to work at Google we’d be very excited to have him, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Even so, after Google trialled its ad platform on, GOOG-YHOO may yet get closer. Brin (via Brand Republic): “Primarily we learned it was good to work with them again… and they have a very similar story to us and things went very well with that test so we would be very excited to work with them again.”

Google has already offered Yang a way out of an all-out takeover by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). Now it’s clearly aligning itself with the search portal and simultaneously getting a foot in the door for am interest in whatever the business might look like after a possible scaled-back MS incursion. Asked to name Google’s top competitor, Schmidt admitted: “Eventually, I think it is obvious that it will be Microsoft, based on their actions.”

Schmidt, Brin and Larry Page had arrived coyly in Hertfordshire for Google’s Zeitgeist summit yesterday to news of the revived talks. Brin feigned ignorance (“Whaddya mean? Yahoo-Microsoft?”) before handing to CEO Eric Schmidt: “In this ongoing saga, I was surprised to find today when I flew in that there was some new development that I’ve yet to be fully briefed on, by you…”

Schmidt offered the party line: “We’ve taken a position that the markets are more competitive, creativity is stronger, it’s better for consumers if Yahoo remains independent. (Our SVP) David Drummond wrote a pretty persuasive blog, given the history of Microsoft and its behaviour, that that was a pretty good outcome, and I think we stand by what David has to say.” Said a succinct Larry Page: “I agree.”